I made a dress for Lauren over the two weeks I was quarantined at Michelle and Paul's house. It was really fun! I've never made a dress for a 1 year old before, and I used a modification of the free chemise pattern on the Sewing Academy website here. Basically I used the general idea for the top of the dress, added a waistband and used a rectangle of 1 1/2 yards of fabric for the skirt. I used two yards of material and ended up with only a handful of scraps leftover which pleased the thrifty side of my soul no end. :) I had to piece together enough bias pieces for piping, which resulted in some wonkiness and a slightly crooked waistband. On little Lauren it was terrible obvious, because something that tiny doesn't have a lot of waistband to even out the list to one side.
I had to make do with a lot of different tools than I normally have. I didn't have sugar'n'cream yarn to make piping out of and used surveyor's string instead. I didn't have buttons or thread and had to buy them. I had my embroidery scissors but no shears, so I was really glad I was making a tiny dress that was basically a snip and rip project. I had a few basting needles and a few pins. I didn't have my beautiful steam iron, but Michelle's worked well, and I decided while using her ironing board that I really really need a new pad for ours.
I feel a little self-conscious ripping fabric to size, since it makes such a dreadful noise. It really works well, but it sounds like you are destroying your fabric. I made only the angled cuts and the bias cuts with my scissors - the other cuts were a small snip and then I ripped the rest of the 'cut'. It really made me think about the mothers back in the 1860s making little baby clothes and how practical this type of pattern really is. I could have made the dress in an afternoon if I had wanted to, and making it without the comfort of most of my tools and sewing room made me feel like I was roughing it.
I really wasn't, but it was not my usual ease of knowing where everything was and having tried and true tools at my fingertips.
I wasn't too excited about the dress fabric when I bought it. It looked boring, but it had the qualifications I was looking for in that it was a (mostly) regular pattern, not too naturalistic, not too subtle, and a color that would look good on Lauren. Made into a little dress I really really liked the scale of the pattern with the scale of the dress. I'm really pleased with it.
I am not as pleased with the pinafore. It is a bit too big and tends towards a forward slump. I will probably move the button so it's smaller and doesn't keep falling away.
Lauren wasn't as pleased with the very wrong for the era bonnet I tried on her. She has good taste.
I made Paul a vest the night before the event, and the coat which I worked on for a long time was not my best work, and also too hot to wear the day of. I was disappointed that he didn't wear it, but I'd rather have him be cooler than not. And in October it will not be warm, most likely, which is when we will go next.
I fixed Hope's dress for Michelle, to wear over her baby bump. She was a trooper, and even though I forgot all of our undersleeves I think we looked pretty well, considering. I wore Michelle's dress, with new neck bows for me and a cameo for Michelle. I really wanted to have my real bonnet (non-farbelicious) made for the occasion, but I've been running so much between houses to try to take care of people that it didn't end up taking top priority. So, in October my goal is to have Ben's coat fixed, his shirt and cravat made, probably not a waistcoat because the vest I made him will (with a few finishing touches) do in a pinch, a gown for the newest youngling Mary (born at the end of June) and possibly a sack coat for Lauren for cooler weather.
I hope to get back into the sewing swing of things. I've made very few things in the past two years since my sister's weddings, but life is picking up a definite routine again and I think I might be able to. I have a commission for a Jane Austen Convention gown to be finished by September, and I've been having a fun time with that. Pictures to follow soon!
Saturday, May 10, 2014
I'm making my 15 month old niece Abigail an outfit for Memorial day when we will hopefully go to Greenfield Village for the Civil War Remembrance days. This is her pettichemise. A pettichemise is a combination of two garments the chemise (a nighgown like garment meant to wear under stays and petticoat, to keep body oils off her dress) and a petticoat to give her little skirts some more loft. A pettichemise is not a usual garment - in fact it seems to have been pretty rare back in the day, but I am short on time and needed something like this to make for the Abster. I am basically quarantined at Lauren and Ben's house so I had to make do with the things I had on hand, and while I was awfully happy for a little while thinking that I had made the most of my one yard of cotton muslin (36 inches wide) and squeezed out enough for her pettichemise, the sad reality is that I had forgotton to save enough for a waistband. Alas. Thankfully, while very period incorrect as to pattern, Lauren had some good quality cotton quilting fabric in the basement that I used for a waistband, so all was not lost. It's a good thing it will be solidly UNDER her dress, though.